Quality > Quantity

The antidote for fifty enemies is one friend. ~Aristotle

One doesn't know, till one is a bit at odds with the world, how much one's friends who believe in one rather generously, mean to one. ~D.H. Lawrence

Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art.... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. ~C.S. Lewis

In the last month, I have witnessed the steady, silent departure of more than a dozen "friends" from my life, their craven exits unannounced and equally unwelcome.

But given the choice between sharing Life's journey with several hundred fair-weather acquaintances or a few dedicated souls whose unwavering loyalty has been proven, I will choose the latter. Always.

The people in your life who mean the most are the ones who stand by you, who encourage you, who uplift your foundering spirits and restore your abject hopes when the light of optimism has waned to a nearly imperceptible flicker. Their remonstrations for emotional strength when you are two quarts low are often my only source of motivation. For these friends - few though they may be - I am now and will eternally remain - profoundly grateful.

If this experience has taught me anything, it is to value those friends whose hearts remain inexplicably entwined with yours through every tribulation. Sometimes those people are the ones you least expected to weather the storm with you, but they are the ones to be cherished. There is no greater joy than knowing you have an ally (several, if you're quite fortunate) who will take your hand, hold it in theirs, and speak the most tender words you'll ever hear: "Come on, we're in this together, every step of the way."

A month ago, I cried rivers of tears over the friends who left. Now, I shed tears of thankful joy for those who remain. They are my life support, my champions of hope, my beacons of light in these darkened days. These precious souls cannot possibly fathom the depths of my gratitude. I will owe my present survival and any future success to their kindness. By trading the artificial for the authentic, an illusion for reality, perhaps I have not lost so much after all...


Learning to breathe...

"Strength and tolerance are partners." ~Khalil Gibran

No one said this would be easy... Some days are better than others; some are pure hell. Still, as with everything in life, success is often measured in baby steps, and I have to believe that patience and hope will pay off in the end...


Of Dogs and Men...

There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face. ~Ben Williams

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring - it was peace. ~Milan Kundera

I'm fairly certain the last time I was happy - I mean, really and truly, incalculably happy - was when I had a dog. Or dogs, as it was.

Dogs are the ideal companion. They are often better companions than human friends because even though they may eat your shoes and shit on the carpet (most humans do neither, if you're lucky), a dog is loyal and loving. And even the worst dog is glad to see you when you come home. They lick your face and wag their tails with unbridled joy when they receive your time and attention. And what's even better? When you pour out your heart and soul to your canine companion, they just listen with trusting ears and a gaze that says, "I'm here for you, pal."

Human friends, on the other hand, will fail you. It's a matter of fact. Hell, we all fail ourselves from time to time, so it's statistically impossible that we can never fail another person. We humans are fallible, in so many ways. Such is life, I suppose.

But what I cannot fathom is how so-called "friends" will acknowledge a friend experiencing a bout of stress or other typical life event that renders them needy (and/or a total basket case) and otherwise incapable of thinking/acting clearly and say to them, "Our friendship isn't over, but I'm going to put some distance between you and me for a while until you get your shit figured out."

Really? WTF?!?

That's like seeing someone's house burning down and telling them, "Well, I hope you get that under control. Good luck with all that, but I'm going back to my own life and whatever shows I've recorded on DVR."

I mean, WHAT. THE. FUCK.

What kind of friend watches passively while your house burns down (metaphorically speaking) or while your life literally crumbles around you?

I have no answers. I only have first-hand experience that has taught me a few things: when the road of Life gets bumpy, you're sometimes better off having a dog. Even if that means you have a favorite pair of shoes you can no longer wear because Fido has turned one into a chew toy. Because at the end of the day, having a trusted companion with four legs is better than having several hundred fair-weather, two-legged companions of the human kind who walk away when things get rough. (Ruff?)

Note to self: consider getting a dog, and soon...


When Life Hands You Lemons...

There is no shortage of pithy aphorisms regarding adversity:
Adversity is the first path to truth. ~Lord Byron
The gem cannot be polished without friction nor man without trials. ~Confucius
There is no education like adversity. ~Disraeli 
Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. ~Kahlil Gibran
Reading trite little sayings is the verbal equivalent of taking TheraFlu when you're sick: it's never tasty, but there is some benefit in knowing that someone, somewhere, at some point, concocted something that helps you when you need it most. Trouble is, I can't stand TheraFlu (even at my lowest, sickliest point). However, it does do a body good. I can run down to the nearest pharmacy and stock up on that vile stuff...which is fine and all, but why isn't there an OTC remedy for angst? I could reeeeally use a scrip for extra-strength "Blues Be Gone" (in pill form, preferably) if such a thing existed...

For me, words and music are the constant companions which nourish my soul, which, in recent days (Oh, who am I kidding? It's been coming on for years, giving plenty of subtle clues along the way to which I've turned a blind eye, as I am wont to do - curse that lifelong bad habit!) has been in the death throes of some heinous malady that makes the flu look like a picnic. It ain't pretty, and it sure as hell hasn't been fun.

Existential crisis? Mid-life crisis? Garden-variety nervous breakdown?

Everything's a possibility; nothing is a certainty.

All I know is, I'm blogging again.

When friends fail me... when love goes sour... when Chicken Little's prognostications become reality... that's when I return to my first loves: words and music.

Let the healing and recovery begin.



"It's not where but who you're with that really matters"

to appease the gods of long-neglected blogdom, I pledge to post the last year's worth of musical adventure & hedonism...maybe. 

we'll see...

my family of choice: Inforoosters (@ MikeD's house, Jan '12)

lil' quackers from 'Roo '11, sunning @ MikeD's pool, July '11

"Quack Club" inaugural members (Rhode Island, Aug '11)


*edited 5.26.12 to remove broken links


music-holics anonymous?

A personal musing recently posted elsewhere: "I don't have kids; I have a live music addiction."

Truer words were never spoken.

By the time the New Year's ball drops next month, I will have seen more than 200 live acts this year alone.

Damn, are my feet tired!

The quantity (not to mention the quality!) of this year's performances has been amaaaaazing! Fortunately, the shows have been spaced out well enough that I can remember them. Or at least remember that I was there...that's saying a lot for some of 'em! ;)

Still, the Great Musical Bucket List has a few untouched entries. Those will be checked off in due time (in one fell swoop, at Glastonbury '13!) - but until then, let's rehash:

MY MUSICAL BUCKET LIST (completed acts now marked out!)

1. Radiohead
2. Pink Floyd (OK, probably won't happen, but seeing Roger Waters do The Wall in 2wks will suffice for now!)
3. Muse (yes! one of *the* best shows, ever!)
4. Arcade Fire (in the Top 3 of all-time greatest shows...front row was damn near a religious experience!)
5. U2 (seeing them next July!)
6. The Cure
7. The Smiths (never gonna happen, but still on the list)
8. Coldplay (sue me...I'm a Brit pop softie!)
9. Peter Gabriel
10. Elbow
11. *tie*: Van Morrison/Leonard Cohen 


ACL 2010

For the next 5 days, I'll be in Austin, TX for this amazing festival: ACL 2010

I will finally see Muse!!!  :)


six months later...

Regular blogging has NOT been a priority these last six months. Sorry.

You don't really care about fertilizing your azaleas when you're drowning. Basically, when Fate throws you a curve ball, you focus on surviving. Well, lemme tell ya: Fate has a wicked pitching arm and that unexpected line drive back in March left me with a concussion.

Perhaps I should have continued blogging, if only for therapeutic purposes. God knows that would have saved me many, many thousands of dollars I've wasted in a mindless search for happiness. 

But hey, we all deal with heartbreak differently. I've tried just about everything to regain the joy I lost, but nothing's worked. It's true: money CAN'T buy happiness...but it can score some lovely sedatives. Praise be!

The last six months have been the most difficult, most painful emotional roller-coaster ride I've ever endured. No hyperbole. There have been high points (wow, front row for Arcade Fire!), low points (suffering through the heat @ 'Roo and Matt's death there) and some wonderful people in between. Still, I keep coming back to the two things that are most effective: words and music. More concerts & festivals are on the calendar; this gives me something to anticipate. But it only temporarily fills the void. Life just isn't the same anymore without my favorite person sharing it with me.

So the blogging resumes. I just hope my joie de vivre returns eventually. Because I'm reeeeeally tired - of not sleeping, of not enjoying life, of feeling numb, of crying every night mourning the loss of someone I loved, which is an exercise in futility. Why do I shed tears? Because the heart is foolish and I will always love him. Ryan Adams was right: Love is Hell.

This music is proving therapeutic. The person* who introduced me to this artist is quite possibly the most amazing old soul I've ever met in such a young body. 

*(If you're reading this: ¡Gracias por la música, el vino, el alimento…y todo! ¡Yo siempre le recordaré (y sus excelentes habilidades de cocina)! ¡Buena suerte en España! ¡Espero verle otra vez el año próximo! Gracias por ser un amigo tan maravilloso. ¡Adiós, guapo!)


Here's to future days of hope and promise.


throw yo hands up in the air...

Call me an adrenaline junkie {insert rhetorical smartass utterance here} but I love roller coasters. I love riding them, watching them, even (to a lesser degree) standing in line waiting for another chance to ride 'em all over again.

I love the rush, the thrill, the blood-curdling screams coming from myself and those around me.

Riding roller coasters reminds you that you're alive.

Part of the thrill is letting go of the handlebars.

Literally, it's a rush. Figuratively, it's also a rush.

Tonight it dawned on me that my life of late has been a roller coaster ride and I've let go of the handlebars. I'm screaming my fool head off as the G-forces take my breath away and leave me wanting more. I'm intoxicated by the adrenaline. It's amazing! But... it's soooo not who I was before Spring arrived this year.

Before then, I wasn't holding onto the handlebars because I wasn't on the ride. Hell, I wasn't even at the amusement park having fun. This analogy would work better if I knew where exactly I had been. Suffice it to say, my situation was more like sitting in traffic waiting to get to the amusement park - or else broken down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, en route to the park. Either way, there was zilcho fun being had.

That has changed. Now the fun is underway. Hands up in the air.

Tell me: where are YOUR hands? Are you holding on for dear life on a ride that terrifies you in an exhilarating way? Or are you even in the amusement park? If you're not holding onto the ride, then what are you holding onto?

Life's too short not to let go every once in awhile and enjoy the ride.

Go ahead. Maybe it's time for you to scream your fool head off, too. It just might be the one thing your life needs most.  :)